As the Peyton Manning saga continues, a much larger question lingers. Not many have addressed it, and those that have are split on the subject.
Is little brother Eli – the one who had pillows wedged under his shirt as a kid so big brother could practice throwing at him – the better of the two professional Mannings?
The easy answer, of course, is yes. What is the point of playing 16 games a year, plus the playoffs? Answer: to win a Super Bowl. It is what every team makes it’s goal at the beginning of every season (except maybe the Browns).
If we talk about the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, we talk about guys like Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady, Troy Aikman, etc. What is the one thing they have in common? Super Bowls. And lots of them.
Now, Eli has two. Only the four quarterbacks I mentioned have more than him, and both of his came against one of those quarterbacks. Do you remember who Peyton beat in Super Bowl XLI? Rex Grossman. I would say Eli’s Super Bowl wins, one against an undefeated team and both against the greatest coaching mind ever (Bill Belichek), are more quality than Peyton’s.
Still not convinced? Think about this. Peyton played with what could be considered the best 1-2 receiver combo in history (Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne), yet won only 1 Super Bowl and choked more often than not in the playoffs. His career playoff record is 9-10. In eight of his 12 seasons (not counting 2011) as a pro, he led his Colts to 12 or more wins. In five of those 8 seasons, the Colts did not even make it to the AFC Championship game, and only made the Super Bowl twice.
Eli’s playoff record is a much more healthy 8-3. Both Super Bowl runs involved beating the best teams, by record, in the playoffs the 18-0 Patriots in 2007 and the 15-1 Packers this season.
In my mind, both Mannings deserve to be Hall of Famers, and both are great quarterbacks. But, as the 2011-2012 season comes to a close, doesn’t it seem while Peyton’s career looks in jeopardy, Eli’s is taking off?
After winning the Super Bowl on Sunday, Eli now has as many championships as he has Sports Illustrated covers. Peyton has 12 covers and 1 title.
Isn’t it about time we show little brother some love?